Hands up those of you who have an ever-growing list of home improvement jobs. Maybe you spent the majority of lockdown inside your home noticing all the niggly little things that you want to change? Things that maybe hadn’t bothered you so much when you were spending less time at home? Things that perhaps you hadn’t even noticed before? Or maybe things that have been on your list for a while but they suddenly seem all that more urgent now that you’ve been forced to stare at them for months on end. This is me!
I received a press release earlier this week that stated that the average home in the UK is five years and five months away from being ‘finished’ – with painting, a garden revamp and redecorating the living room topping the nation’s ‘to do’ lists. Independent Network powered by VEKA commissioned a study in which they surveyed 2000 adults and found that 39 per cent of those questioned admitted they don’t think their homes will ever be truly complete.
We have a long list of home improvement jobs that need doing and I am determined that they will get done by the end of next year, as long as my husband gets on board of course. I’m really tired of looking around my home and spotting everything that needs doing and I’ve decided that now is the time for action. So here are my top five post-lockdown home improvement jobs.
New Flooring Throughout
This is the biggie and it’s not new. I have wanted to change the flooring since the day we bought the flat. The carpets were red and green when we moved in. Don’t get me wrong, they were good quality and in good nick, but I couldn’t live with red carpet. We replaced the red ones with some cheap neutral carpet and kept the green ones. The green ones have held up really well over the years but the cheap ones we installed are on their last legs now. Six years of children really had taken its toll and they now need replacing quite urgently. Seeing as it’s just a couple of rooms, I’m considering buying a remnant/off-cut for each to keep the costs down and getting a local fitter to install them. I’ve got my eye on a couple at Designer Carpet, who seem to stock a lot of branded stuff that’s heavily discounted.
But the most urgent floor is the kitchen. The floor tiles were installed very badly by the previous owner. They aren’t even flush. I used to trip constantly when we first moved in. They have cracked over the years too. I’m pretty sure the adhesive has been applied in little blobs on each corner of the tile to save money but it has resulted in weak tiles that crack and break easily. We’ve put off doing this job for a long time because of the amount of work involved, but the time has come. New kitchen flooring is now the absolute priority.
A New Fireplace
Next on my list of home improvement jobs is the fireplace. We have the weirdest fireplace in our living room, which I have always wanted to rip off the wall. It’s a horrid laminated surround housing a cheap electric fire which we never use. But the worst thing about it is the height of it. The hearth has two steps, which makes it far too high. We have a mirror above it which I can barely see into because it’s too high. It’s all just very odd and the steps really eat into the floor space, which is far from ideal in an already small room.
What I’m planning to do, when we rip up the cheap carpet to replace the flooring, is to remove the surround, block up the chimney, remove the double hearth, and install a big chunky oak mantle like this one from Cottage Beams. I’d like to tile the firebox and the wall around it though. I might install an electric wood burner purely because I like the look and cosy feel of a wood burner. We’ll never use it to heat the room so I’m not going to create a hearth as it eats into too much floor space.
I feel like this would fit much better with the look we want for the room but also from a practical and functional point of view.
Further Updates to the Kitchen
We did our partial kitchen makeover back in 2017 so it feels like it might be time to give it another little upgrade. Once the flooring is replaced, that will make all the difference but I still want to make further changes.
Since we decided to go more monochrome, our retro cream fridge freezer has bugged me no end. The cream just doesn’t work with the black and white. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a new fridge freezer but that seems terribly indulgent just because I no longer like the colour. It’s a perfectly good appliance in all other respects so it definitely doesn’t deserve to be replaced.
Luckily though, I have found a really cool company on Instagram that does cool vinyl sheets that can be used to wrap appliances, cover furniture and can be used on walls, floors and all manner of surfaces. Jes Rose Vinyl offers a choice of over 300 designs from terrazzo and marble to dalmation, Ikat, abstract geometric, art deco patterns, botanical leaves and everything in between. The range is vast.
So my plan is to wrap the fridge freezer in something more fitting colourwise and maybe make a real statement with a cool print. I’m also toying with the idea of wrapping some of the cupboard doors. I never really liked the kitchen cabinets anyway but it was a brand new kitchen when we moved in so we decided to keep it until we could replace it with something we really love. Again it’s not the worst kitchen, but I think there are some small changes that could make it a lot better for us.
If I do wrap some of the cupboard doors I’ll probably change the handles too for something a bit more funky. I really think we could add some serious personality to our kitchen and this idea really excites me.
Makeover the Girls’ Bedroom
The winter before last, our roof leaked really quite badly. The area we live is at the top of a valley and when the wind gets up our flat really takes a battering. We lost many roof tiles in a storm and sadly water came pouring through the ceiling into the girls bedroom. We had the roof fixed and patched up the ceiling the best we could. We didn’t want to replace the ceiling until we knew for sure we wouldn’t have a problem with the roof come the next storm.
Well, last winter, that’s exactly what happened. Another storm and more roof tiles blew off and water came in again ruining our repair job on the ceiling. We’ve had the roof fixed again and now we’re pretty sure it can withstand the winter storms.
So I’ve spent a fair amount of time on Pinterest recently planning a bedroom makeover for the girls. We’ve decorated their room twice since we’ve had them but they were too young to have any say in the matter. So I’m really looking forward to being able to involve them in the process (as long as they agree with everything I say – kidding). I’m thinking a warm, earthy neutral colour palette with lots of texture. I’ve fallen hard for this Canyon Colors wall decal from Urban Walls, which is a Canadian company so need to look into shipping before I get too excited.
The final project on my list of home improvement jobs is the hallway. Our hallway is long, narrow and rather dark. There is a window in the top of my bedroom wall that attempts to allow more light to flow into the hallway but it does a terrible job. There is an alcove on one wall that contains some shelving and the electric and gas metres and a small radiator. Meanwhile, the other wall is where the coat hooks are. This makes no sense at all as it takes up far too much space with all the coats hanging there.
So my plan for a few years now has been to turn that alcove into a coat cupboard by building a frame into it and adding three doors. That way we can hide all the coats, shoes, bags and power metres away inside the cupboard. It would also free up the other wall, which could then be used to hang some nice artwork or a big mirror to bounce the light around a bit more.
I also want to add full length mirrors onto the cupboard doors. I feel like this would allow the light coming in from the front door to be reflected back into the hallway brightening up the space. It should, in theory, also make the narrow hallway feel much wider. This is probably the project I am most looking forward to.
The entry way to your home is so important and it governs how you feel about your home every time you come through the door. So you want it to be a calm and welcoming space. Our hallway is currently anything but calm and welcoming. It’s a jungle of coats, bags and shoes that we have to fight our way past. This cupboard is probably the project I am most looking forward to getting done as I feel like it will have the biggest impact on our home.
I’m excited to get all of these projects off the ground and I’m making it my mission to get them all completed by the end of 2021 (I’m not a quick worker when it comes to home improveents). While the kids were very young, these jobs seemed far too stressful. But we’re now at a point where the girls are a bit more independent and don’t need constant supervision. They will happily play together in their room, leaving us some time to work on the house. So now feels like the time to take things to the next level and get cracking on these jobs.
Do you have any home improvement jobs that you set yourself over lockdown? Or maybe some that you finally got done? Let me know in the comments below. I love hearing about other people’s projects.